… a level at a time.

Video Games

Photos, games, and life.

This year has been an interesting one for my photography. As I said in my earlier post, I had some photos and a ceramics piece in a show at the Phelps Arts Center. My photo of the Sunset on the Erie Canal in Fairport got some more attention while it was there. A graphic designer, Chris, talked to me about possibly using it for the Perinton Bicentennial event poster & wine label. After talking with him for a bit, we decided that I’d email him a low-res copy of my picture so he could mess with some ideas to present to the board.A week or so later, I received an email from Chris saying that they loved it and requested that I write-up an invoice for the town and Casa Larga, so they could use the photo.

Chris put me in contact with a representative from Casa Larga, because they would want some background information for a press-release. It turns out they wanted more than that, they asked me to show up at their tent at Fairport Canal Days for wine-bottle signings, and they also want me to go to the wine shop for an event later this month. I had a wedding that I was attending the weekend of Canal Days, and the only day I was able to make it out there was Sunday. It rained most of the day, which sucked… but there were still a lot of people at Canal Days. I didn’t expect that many people to be out. Dad took a picture of me at the Casa Larga tent one of the brief times it wasn’t raining. I ended up signing a dozen or so bottles, and got quite a few compliments while I was there.

After that show ended in Phelps – the pieces I had there, along with a new photo, went over to school for the Spring Arts Festival. The stuff in the show this year was fantastic, better than last year’s show I think. My photos got a bit of attention once again. The Canal photo that is getting most of the attention won second place for photography, and one of the other photos [bottom right in the picture] I entered was given an honorable mention, and the faculty at school purchased it for display around the campuses.

My Xbox 360 died earlier this year; after 5 years it finally got the Red Ring of Death.  That happened right around the release of Mass Effect 3… which I planned on playing on my 360. Instead of continuing my game, I was forced to start a new game on the computer [since I didn’t replace my 360]. I still haven’t made it all the way through the game. School was more important at the time, and I haven’t bothered getting back into it. I’m still looking into replacing my 360, but I’m not sure how I want to go about it. I could buy a cheap refurbished one, or I could take the plunge and buy one of the 360 Slims. I don’t know which I would rather do… that and I’d have to save up for the Slim. Getting a refurbished 360 would be much cheaper, but it runs the risk of getting another RROD. Whereas, if I picked up a Slim it would be more expensive, but I shouldn’t have to worry about the system dying for a while, and I would have more hard drive space. I would also have to buy the transfer cable to copy the stuff from the HD in my old 360 to the Slim. Also, it’s getting to the point that new systems should be released soon. I think I’ll probably just end up with a refurbished one.

Diablo 3 came out in May. This is one game I’ve waited a long time for. I only played through the original Diablo a few times, but I can’t tell you how many times I played through Diablo 2, or how much time I spent farming bosses and the Secret Cow Level with friends.

I’ve heard mixed reviews about D3, personally I love it. It still has that old Diablo/Diablo 2 feel, but there are new features that give it a slight touch of MMO. The skill bar is the biggest one that I can think of; instead of having just the mouse clicks for attacks there is now the 1-5 buttons that you can assign skills to. There are five to choose from; the Barbarian [melee, physical], Demon Hunter [ranged, physical], Monk [melee, physical/magic], Witch Doctor [ranged, physical/magic], and Wizard [ranged, magic]. Unlike Diablo 2’s max level of 99, the level cap in Diablo 3 has been limited to 60, who knows if Blizzard plans on raising that in the future [with or without an expansion]. The stash starts out small [7 blocks x 2 blocks], but is expandable [up to 7 blocks x 10 blocks] by purchase with gold. Then there are also 2 extra tabs that can be purchased with the same amount of space. The stash is also bound to your account, not the characters, there is no more needing friends to hold a game open to transfer items between characters. I’m not sure which is my favorite, but the two I’ve played the most is my Demon Hunter followed by a pretty even balance between the Barbarian, Monk, and Witch Doctor. I think I’ve only invested about 5 minutes into the Wizard so far, but I’ll play that more eventually. Blizzard added a new mode. In Diablo and Diablo 2 there was Normal, Nightmare, and Hell… now there is also Inferno. My Demon Hunter is the only character that I have made it to Inferno with so far. All I have to say about Inferno is that the elite mobs make all of Hell mode look like a cake walk. Some of them are comparable to [mini] raid bosses in MMOs. Blizzard also replaced the Secret Cow Level that was in Diablo 2. In Diablo 3, the secret level is Whimsyshire… the land of flowers, rainbows, teddy bears, and unicorns; all of which are out to kill you… well, except the rainbows – they’re just pretty. The map is amazing, it looks like a little kid drew it. Once again, all the maps in game are randomly generated, so things aren’t going to be in the same place every time.

I stepped away from Diablo 3 this past weekend because I participated in the Guild Wars 2 Beta. I played the first game a bit, but at the time I started playing the first Guild Wars, I was already playing [and enjoyed] World of Warcraft more and I just stopped playing Guild Wars. From what I got to play in the beta, there are a lot of new concepts… but there’s only so far you can go with a MMO.

I would have played more, but I wasn’t home all weekend, and the beta did not like running properly on my laptop… so I left it to when I was at home and could use my desktop. The story is interesting, the way it plays out is you are the hero, and every NPC knows it, when you create a character you give it background which changes how some NPCs interact with you [what god you worship, if you were noble or a street rat, etc]. Some of the chat sequences are a little like cut-scenes, it says they’re still a work in progress. It’s interesting and gives the game a bit of a single-player feel. Combat is cool, there’s the typical combat but there is also an interesting concept called “downed-state” [if you lose all your health]. Instead of dying right away, you go into a downed-state. In a downed-state you can fight using 4 skills [different from the typical class skills] that will do damage and help fill the bar, there is a chance you can survive if you manage to fill up the downed-state bar, otherwise [if it’s depleted] you die and have to respawn at a checkpoint. Other players can also come to you and help revive you while you are in the downed state. There is no tagging mobs for exp/loot. If someone is attacking a mob and you stop and help, you will get a little exp and possibly some loot. I don’t know if it cuts into their loot/exp table from the mob or not, but it’s nice to get a bonus for helping random people.

The attack buttons are pre-defined to the numbers above the alphabet on the keyboard, and I can’t find a way to change them [one thing I did in WoW was reassign some skill buttons to other keys that were easier to get to]. The first 5 skills [1-5] are based on what weapon you are using, and every weapon has a different set of skills. When you get a new weapon, you only have the first attack available. As you use a weapon more, you become more experienced with it and unlock the second skill, then the third, etc. Skill 6 is your self-heal skill, every class has one, there are no healers/dps/tanks. You have to keep yourself alive [use your skills, heal, and double tap directions to dodge]. Skill 7-0 are based on your class and what skills you chose with skill points.

I didn’t get into crafting this time [just disassembling gear for materials], maybe if there is another beta I’ll get a chance to mess with that more. You can disassemble weapons, armor, and some other things to generate the crafting materials, which is neat. You can also collect materials throughout the world [mining, herb gathering, and something else I can’t remember]. The bank is account wide, so if you put an item in on one character and hop to another, you can withdraw it from the bank on that character. The bank also has a separate tab that stores specifically crafting materials, so they don’t take up bank/bag space. I really like that, cause every time I upgraded gear, I disassembled the old gear for mats and my bag/bank would fill up very quickly.

The world is massive, and as far as I can tell, there are no mounts to ride. There are waypoints you can discover and instant-travel to for money, but if you’re always doing that you will miss out on experience and world events that happen all the time in random places. The art is pretty cool, landscapes and creatures are cool looking, yet another reason to run and explore. There is also exploration [jumping] puzzles that will reward you if you find/reach the end [I got an extra skill point from one, and a better weapon from another]. I haven’t had any official groups/parties, just a few with NPCs in the starting areas and the world event auto-group thing. The auto-group thing doesn’t actually form a group/party, but if a few people are doing tasks for an event [ie – protect a farm from bandit invasion (kill bandits & ruin their morale)] and one person completes part, everyone working on that event gets credit. Overall, Guild Wars 2 something I’m going to keep my eye on and play any beta I get into.

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Minor Update for a Major Gap.

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I updated. I’ve been pretty busy with photography & school, that’s probably why I haven’t updated.

Back in January before classes started I went out to California again. That trip wasn’t for pleasure… I went out to visit and support my mom, while she had surgery. Everything went well, and she’s recovering relatively quickly. I wish I could have spent more time out there with her, but I had to get back for classes.

Right before school started, I quit World of Warcraft. It’s weird not playing, but it’s nice. I have more free time to do all the other things that I would put off because I was being lazy. I replaced WoW with more productive things like taking pictures, messing with Photoshop more, hanging out with friends, playing some of my Xbox 360 games I still haven’t finished [Dragon Age: Origins], catching up on movies/tv shows via Netflix. Ok, those last two aren’t so productive… but I can only sit in front of a computer messing in Photoshop for only so long, and I can only do so much with night pictures.

I spent time playing Battlefield 2: Bad Company again, I’ve missed that game and some of my friends have played it recently. Actually, it’s the same with Borderlands too… a few friends have messed with it on occasion the past couple of weeks and I’ve joined them a few times.

This semester is going better than the past two… I’m enjoying my classes a lot more! My favorite classes are Design and Foundation Drawing. I love doing something for the class and not sitting there and listening to lectures. English is surprisingly good, even though the class is mainly lecture… Dr. T keeps the class interesting. It’s a bit small, so there’s not much discussion which kinda sucks. The one class I’m having the most problems with is Art History… I wish the professor was a bit more captivating.

I switched majors about two weeks into the semester; I went from Information Technology to Fine Arts. My school doesn’t have a Photography degree. Once I finish up my Fine Arts degree, I’ll be transferring to a school with a Photography degree. I’m thinking about doing a double major Photography/English or Photography/Journalism, but I haven’t decided. I guess it depends on where I want to go with the course my life has taken. I’m going to take some time and think about it, see where this semester leads.

So… I stopped typing this update mid-March [saved a draft] and now resume it mid-April. I’m really slacking with the blogging thing this year… gotta work on that! >_<

I have to reload my laptop after I get stuff backed up. Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 [64-bit] pulled a number on the system… most systems from what I’ve found online. It now takes 20-30 minutes from hitting the power button til I’m logged in and the machine is “ready” to run. I put ready in the quotations because even though the machine has booted… it takes about 10 times as long to do anything. I can’t even boot into my Ubuntu partition now, which is even more frustrating. This is what I get for being lazy and not reading up on any issues the Service Pack might have before I installed it. >_<

On a brighter note, it turns out the only thing wrong with my desktop is the RAM is fried. I thought there was more wrong with it… from what I could find online – I thought it was the motherboard or CPU. I’ll be replacing the RAM as soon as I can.

I have to swing back out to main campus and drop off a form. Since I last worked on this post, I’ve decided that I am changing my major again… slightly: I’m going to do a double-major of Graphic Design & Fine Arts.

This semester has my first ever art classes [actual classes, not counting art in Kindergarten]. Andrea [my Foundation Drawing professor] is awesome… over the semester I’ve gotten to know her pretty well. She asked to see some of my photography when I mentioned how much positive feedback I was getting for just starting out. I brought my laptop in one day so that she could see some of my stuff. After she saw some of my work she told me I should start networking and she introduced me to Liz.

Kurt [Liz’s husband] is a professional photographer… Andrea told Liz that she liked my photography and she thought Kurt would be a good contact for me. Liz suggested I email Kurt and mention that Andrea & Liz and she had sent me to him. She also suggested asking about going to see his studio and meet up with him sometime. I’ve since heard back from him, Kurt invited me to come and sit-in at one of his shoots [should happen in the next few weeks]. He said he would email me once he had a date finalized… I can’t wait! ^_^

Andrea is also encouraging me to put some of the work I’ve done this semester in the Student Art show on campus. I’m my own worst critic… I know this. I don’t feel like any of my stuff is good enough, but a lot of that is because I’m comparing my work to extremely talented artists that have done it for a long time. She pointed out two things that she thinks I should put in the show; I probably will enter them. What’s the worst that can happen? They tell me I need more practice? I’ll be practicing either way. I also have to look into if I can submit stuff that wasn’t done for class… if I can – I’m going to submit some of my photos.

I think that’s enough for today. It’s late and I was up most of the night last night and I had class early this morning… time to kick back and watch some Netflix before bed.


Absence.

It’s been a while… I’ll keep this update short and focused on games. The reason for the lack of posts is because I got caught up with projects & homework for school, not to mention Thanksgiving & Christmas.

Deathengine went as a farmer for Halloween [erm… Hallow’s End].

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm came out the beginning of December. I have mixed feelings about this release… mostly due to the quest related issues I’ve been having. Deathengine has been bugged since day one; only half the quests in each of the new zones have not been available to him [with the exception of Twilight Highlands]. There’s one faction I can’t gain any reputation with because the quest line was cut off before I started gaining any reputation.

The new zones are absolutely beautiful. Blizzard put a lot of detail into the new areas. In my opinion, one of the most stunning [as well as the most annoying] zones is Vash’jir… the underwater zone.

Heroic dungeons have gotten an interesting upgrade… they’re like mini-raids. Groups really have to pay attention to what they’re doing in order to succeed. If you get into a dungeon, you’re usually hoping there’s enough crowd control for the run [or a good enough tank/heals/dps to make up for the lack of crowd control].

I was debating dropping my Blood [tank] spec on Death for a Frost [DPS] spec.. but I already have my Unholy spec for DPS… what’s the point of two DPS specs? In the end I kept the Blood spec and have started gathering gear here and there so I can tank instances. He currently has enough gear to tank normals, but I don’t think he’s even close to being ready for tanking heroics. Right now he’s dual-wield Unholy, but someone was saying yesterday that Blizzard wants Unholy to use tw0-handed weapons and are looking at making DW less viable. If that’s the case I’m going to have to get another two-handed weapon for DPSing. I’m working on Archaeology right now, and looking to get Zin’rokh, Destroyer of Worlds. I still have a few other pieces that need upgrading too, my helmet and relic are kind of pathetic. I had the best-in-slot [pre-raid] helmet swiped from me by a healer the other day, annoying. Now I’m doing guild-only runs whenever possible.

My guild wants to get started with raiding soon, I’ve only raided with them once or twice so far back in Wrath of the Lich King. From what I’ve seen… most players that are the “Casual” rank don’t get to raid with them which bothered me. Once discussions started about raiding, I noticed I was promoted to the rank of “Raider”. Needless to say, I can’t wait… of course I know it’s going to be lots of wipes until everyone gets the fights down [that’s gonna be expensive].

I also picked up Dragon Age: Origins again, strictly because I haven’t finished it yet. I’m slowly working my way through that. It’s still not great, but decent… and it’s something I need to finish. I played it maybe two days before I needed a break… can you tell how much I like the game? I don’t normally trade games in, but that’s one that I’m pretty sure I will.

A few friends and I are looking to set up a Dungeons and Dragons: Midnight campaign. Hopefully we’ll be starting it later this month. We’ve got to meet up at some point to set up our characters before we can start the game though. Hopefully we’ll be able to do that sometime soon, otherwise we might not get to start the campaign til February.


Walking the paths set before me.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I got caught up between school, gaming, and nurturing a new passion. What’s gone on the past two months you ask? I’ll tell you!

Since we last parted, I have made a little progression with Deathengine. He now has the Fiery Warhorse, as well as the Kingslayer title. I’m still running Zul’Gurub [still trying for the mounts] before Cataclysm is released… but I’m not getting my hopes up. I’m also in the process of farming gold & Emblems of Frost so I can continue on the Shadowmourne quest chain. I’m still on the first step [The Sacred and Corrupt], I need to get another 16 Primordial Saronite. At the very least, I want to complete this section of the chain so that I can get my hands on Shadow’s Edge.

I picked up Battlefiled: Bad Company 2 for the Xbox 360. I’ve unlocked almost everything; all I have left to unlock is the last weapon in the Assault class.  I enjoy the Recon class the most… give me a sniper rifle and I’ll go to town.

I also picked up Halo: Reach. I finished Legendary in co-op mode, & I have one mission left to complete in solo campaign. A few of my friends and I are really enjoying Firefight lately, we will set up a game that lasts hours. The last game we set up was 10 sets, I don’t remember what difficulty we played on… but it took almost 2 hours! [click here for my Reach stats]

I have continued with the photography, although I’ve taken a few breaks due to school & games. One of my best friends moved back from Florida a month or so ago. We haven’t gotten to hang out too much, but the last time we hung out; she brought her puppy over and I ended up taking quite a few photos of her.

Indiana is a beautiful dog. She has gorgeous eyes and no problem whoring herself to the camera! I’m sure I’ll get plenty more opportunities to take photos of her.

I went to Watkins Glen over the weekend for a hike. We hiked from the top of the gorge to the bottom and stopped for lunch. After lunch we went back up to the top and made one last trip back down to the bottom. We did about five miles total during the hike.

Normally five miles wouldn’t phase me, but that’s talking five miles on a flat surface. Damn, all those hills & steep inclines made things interesting! I was a little sore on Monday after the hike.

I want to get a better camera now, I would like a Digital SLR. I was looking at a few online… I found two that I want [one or the other], the Canon EOS 5D Mark II or the Canon EOS 60D. I just have to figure out where I’m going to get the extra $2500+ for the 5D Mark II or $1000 for the 60D. I’ll probably go for something more like the 60D for now… just have to find an “affordable” one!

Don’t get me wrong, I love my camera [Nikon Coolpix L18, for those of you that are wondering]. For being a basic point & click machine, it does a very good job. I just want to be able to mess with all the settings, not just the preset ones that came with mine. I can’t change the shutter speed on my camera… also, there is no manual focus, this makes me sad.

So far all I’ve done nature photography and some sets of domestic animals. I would like to do a bit of photography with people as well, nothing major… unless I’m mysteriously amazing at it. I’m not sure how I would go about photographing a person, model specifically. I prefer to capture the moment and not script something [IE – set up a photo-shoot with wardrobe/theme].

I was thinking about it last night [technically Wednesday morning, about 4am while lying in bed awake… again]. I got thinking about different friends that I think could model & one person jumped out to me.

So Wednesday morning after I woke up [around 11am] & mulled things over a bit, I sent her a message on Facebook running the idea by of her doing a photo-shoot with me. I know it wouldn’t be anything professional [obviously], but I let her know what I had thought about.

I can’t say I was really expecting her to jump at the idea, seeing as we haven’t really talked in about four years and it was out-of-the-blue. I was surprised by a very enthusiastic response!

She asked me why had thought of her before anyone else. Honestly, that’s a good question, I’m not even sure why. She just popped into my mind when I started thinking about who would be a good person to do a photo-shoot with, who I felt would be an ideal match for the step into the world of photographing models.

Anyways, we are now in the process of trying to decide more of the specifics of what kind of photo-shoot we want to do. In a way, I wish I had some sort of studio so I could practice the indoor “staged” shots. But at the same time I’m glad I don’t have a studio, I’d rather avoid the prefabricated look. We will probably end up doing our photo-shoot outside. It’s a great time of year to do an outdoor set, with the leaves changing and all… even though its freaking cold out.

As soon as we have everything decided and we have free time, we’ll do a set and see how things go. If we think there’s possibility there, we’ll probably set up future shoots to do. With the way things have gone lately, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if we did multiple sets.

I should ask around if any of my other friends wants to do a photo-shoot. Although, I’m not sure who I would ask. The biggest reason I mentioned it to my one friend is because of how she just popped into my head when I started thinking about it. If I do end up talking to more friends about doing a photo shoot… worst case scenario, we’ll end up with stupid pictures to post on Facebook. Who knows, maybe someone will even end up with a new profile picture!

I stopped in at school today to see an adviser about possibly changing my major. Because I went in without an appointment, I was only able to speak with one of the lowbie-advisers, oh well. Information Technology is seeming less and less desirable of a job lately. As much as I enjoy computers & technology, I don’t know if I want a career that’s focused on that. I’ve hated not knowing what I want to do for a career. Even when I finally chose IT, I wasn’t entirely thrilled about it. Yeah, it’s interesting… but all I’m interested in is stuff I’m planning on doing to my computer[s] & network[s]…

I have a meeting with the head career-adviser at school on Thursday. I’m thinking about switching my major over to something a bit more photography-oriented, possibly photo-journalism.

The more pictures I take [especially of nature], the more I think about photography as being a career… like working for National Geographic! That would rock!

Primordial Saronite


Expansion.

I’ve decided to expand this blog beyond just a gaming blog & include a little more insight into my life… how much insight will be given has yet-to-be decided. I will continue with my thoughts & ramblings about the games I play, so don’t worry.

I added a new menu in the top right [the idea came from looking at the layout at Keep Me Running Wild]. It has a mouse-over drop down function [just for the Gaming and Life tabs: as I create more posts this feature will be more useful] that has different categories available if you would like to focus on something specific.

Still no luck with any of the mounts I was attempting to get on Deathengine. But I only tried for about another week before I went on vacation. I spent the first two weeks of July out in California visiting fiends & family. I took my laptop with me & actually ended up playing more games than I wanted to… leveling alts mostly. I also had a problem with my debit card shortly after I got out there, so I had no money to go and do anything for most of the time I was on vacation. My brother took me to the shooting range where I got to shot a few different guns [for the first time]. I want an AR15 now, heh.

I went to the beach for the first time in a long while. I love the beach & miss being able to go there regularly, I can’t wait til I can move back out to Cali.

There were many barbecues while I was out there. I had a great time hanging out with friends & family. Thankfully, I managed to make it into San Francisco one day and meet up for lunch with a friend I haven’t seen in a few years.

I played disc golf with my family while I was out there. It was, odd… but fun. After I got back, I picked up some disks so that I can play with some friends around here. So far we haven’t been able to get out and play a game, our schedules keep clashing; hopefully we’ll get a game going soon.

When my brother took me to the airport for my return flight, he kept poking at me to stay… I was almost to the point of not returning. If any of my nieces or nephew had been there & even mentioned the thought of not leaving, I probably would have not gotten out of the car & told my brother to drive back home.

Since I got back, I’ve invested more of my gaming-time into the 360 & finishing a few games that still needed work. I managed to finish Mass Effect 2. I forgot how much fun that game is, I’ve already started a second-play through. My first run I went through as a Paragon. For some reason I always play the “good-guy” when I play games that give me the option to be “good” or “evil”. My second play-through I’m playing as a Renegade… it’s time to change things up.

Two of my friends just got Borderlands, so I started playing that again, I forgot how much fun that game is. I’m debating getting new Downloadable Content for it, I already have Zombie Island. There’s a DLC that increases the level cap to 61… I might pick it up. I’ve been messing around with a Soldier and a Hunter lately, levels 19 and 26 respectively. I might wait to pick up the DLC until I get those up to the current level cap [50], or at least close to it.

I haven’t played much more of Final Fantasy XIII, I was too preoccupied with finishing ME2. Now that I’ve finished that I’m going to invest a little more time in FFXIII & get that finished up as well.

I still have to finish a few other 360 games & will be doing that over time. And other than Halo: Reach, there aren’t any more console games that I’m very interested in picking up [at least at the moment], so I can catch up on all the other ones I slacked off at.

Since I got back, I haven’t played much World of Warcraft. I’m probably going to take another small break from it again, at least until Cataclysm is released. If I don’t take a full-on-break, I’m definitely will be cutting down on my time spent in WoW. Saturday was the first time I’ve logged into WoW for more than 30 seconds… not to mention it was only the third time I’ve logged in since I got back. It had been so long since I played a computer game, let alone WoW & Deathengine that it took some getting used to again, haha. It probably didn’t help that I was really tired from spending the day walking around  Park Ave Fest.

I started doing a little more photography & messing around in Photoshop. I don’t have a ton of new stuff, but a few things, they’re up on my DeviantArt page.

It’s been a long time since I’ve done any sort of photography, photo manipulation, or digital-art. I really need to get back into it. I’m not phenomenal or anything, but I do have my moments. I’ll only get better if I practice.

I went to see Inception yesterday [now that it’s 1am] with a friend. That was an intense flick. Good thing I went with a buddy, we had to bounce ideas off each other after the film ended. One of those films that really make you think, & I love movies like that.

I also saw Kick-Ass with some other friends. That was definitely not what we were expecting. We didn’t pay much attention to the trailers or rating. We didn’t know much about that one other than the talk about how the movie was awesome and it was some sort of super-hero wannabe movie.


There’s an unholy presence… do you feel it in your blood?

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, I’ve tried to spend more time outside, enjoying the weather now that it’s summer… even though I hate the humidity, it’s much more enjoyable than freezing during the winter.

Since I last posted, I’ve started farming for mounts on my Death Knight, Deathengine. As stated in a earlier post, I already got the two Drake mounts from The Oculus & The Culling of Stratholme. I also have the mount from For the Horde! [as seen in the picture to the left]. I’m currently trying for the mounts out of Zul’Gurub, Magister’s Terrace, Stratholme, and Sethekk Halls. I can solo them all except for Sethekk Halls, I need my brother to come along on his Druid to summon the boss [Anzu]. I bring my brother along for the other runs most the time since he’s helping me for the one mount in Sethekk Halls. I’m also picking up the Mysterious Egg from The Oracles when I get a chance… no luck yet though.

Other things I’m working on the Glory of the Hero achievement [I only have 9 more requirements/achievements left to do to get GotH], and the different Holiday World Events that exist.

I’ve also spent a little time on my Paladin, Texhnolyze. I wanted to gear him up a little so I could start tanking things with him. I’m not too worried about achievements or anything on Tex… not like Death. I got the mount from The Culling of Stratholme on Tex [honestly though, what group running a heroic can’t get to that boss in time?], but I haven’t bothered getting him the Epic Flying skill yet. His engineering is one point from being maxed out, I’ve just been too lazy to farm up the mats to finish it off.

Tex is almost ready to tank heroics, I just need a few more pieces. Interestingly enough, Death is already tanking heroics… even though I originally didn’t set out to have him tank anything. I just kind of ended up with tanking gear from greed rolls in all the heroics I had run on him. I decided to give it a shot & swapped Death’s dual-wield Frost spec for a Blood-tanking spec.. It’s not the same as tanking with a Paladin [which I prefer]… but it’s decent enough that I’ll do it when necessary [like the other day when the tank randomly bailed right after we got into the instance].

I took Deathengine to Icecrown Citadel [25 man] again this weekend. We had to PUG a good chunk of the raid so we didn’t get as far as we’d hoped. I did manage to improve my DPS significantly since my last run in ICC [at least on group pulls]. I had changed his Unholy spec a bit in hopes of improving DPS, along with a few gear upgrades. The last time I was there I was pulling 6-7k DPS at most for group pulls… this time? Roughly 14k DPS! The third time I went to ICC I managed to walk out with a Deathbringer’s Will & something else [I don’t remember what now]. Shortly after the ICC run this weekend, my guild decided to run Trial of the Crusader [25 man]. The other trinket I wanted [Death’s Choice] dropped… I almost had it, got beat in a roll by one person, and only by 7. What pisses me off more than that I lost it, was as soon as the guy who won it was given it… he said, “Sweet! This is the only thing I wanted out of here!” and quit [ALT+F4] out of the game and didn’t log back in. After we lost that DPS, the raid slowly began to fall apart. We made it to Anub’arak, but without the DPS & heals [because of the people who had left], we weren’t able to down him.

I set up a half-assed layout a few weeks back & decided it really needed cleaning up. It was a bit of a mess and for no reason other than I got lazy. It was so messy, I’m not going to post a screen shot. So far I’ve made vast improvements, it looks much cleaner. I enjoy the minimalist display for the most part, but at the same time… I like to have info in front of me.To the right is a picture of my what my UI looks like when I’m soloing, and below is a picture of my UI when in a group [and in combat]. I still have a few tweaks I need to make… I’m not sure what I want to do about Omen. As you can probably tell, Omen is in kind of an odd spot..  I have to figure out where & how I want it before I finalize my UI and stop messing with it. I can be a bit OCD when it comes to things like that [hell, I’m even being OCD about this post.. 2 days working on it]. If you would like to see a labeled version of each picture – here is a labeled version of my solo picture, and here is a labeled version of my party/combat picture. I believe I will be removing Forte, even though it’s nifty because it tracks my Diseases on multiple targets. As long as I know the time left on my main target, I don’t *need* to know the status of my diseases on other mobs, it’s not important because I have the Glyph of Disease to refresh the diseases on my main target. So long as I keep the Diseases up on my main target, I don’t have to worry about how much time is left on the other mobs. Forte would probably be a bit more useful as a healer to keep an eye as to who has HoTs or bubbles. *shrug* I’ll just have to test it out once I get my Priest or Druid leveled.

To change the font of the combat text over the mob’s heads I use xDamageFont. I also use Prat for the chat window modifications. I have two chat windows to keep the more important stuff separate – Guild. Party, & Raid are in the right chat box, everything else is in the left. The name-plates over the mobs is CaelNameplates.

I ended up dropping Skinning and picking up Enchanting on Death. Enchanting was pretty easy to level… until I hit around 300. Damned Arcane Dust… not really, I just haven’t had the chance to go farm items to DE. Currently Enchanting is sitting at 340/475. JewelCrafting is still about the level it was a month ago [80ish]… mostly because I’ve been too lazy to farm up the materials needed & too poor to just buy everything I need out of the Auction House [I *hate* farming].

Next week I will be going on vacation for two weeks, the plane ticket was and awesome birthday gift from my dad, woot!  I’m flying out to visit family, and I’m not sure how much gaming I will get to do. I know I’ll get to play WoW a little… after all, both my brothers play.


First time raiding.

Well, I managed to finish all the projects I had for school. I had a few days to relax and managed to get a bit of gaming in.

Over the weekend one of the guild leaders asked if I wanted to go to Icecrown Citadel with the guild. According to wow-heroes my Death Knight wasn’t geared for ICC… especially twenty-five man. He only had Tier-9 and heroic gear. They told me it was an alt-run so it didn’t really matter if I was geared enough or not, everyone else knew what they were doing & there would be some mains to help with the under-geared. I decided to tag along.

We had a few bad pulls on the way to the first boss, Lord Marrowgar. Someone stepped a little too close to a second group of mobs and pulled the whole center of the room while we were mid-fight which resulted in the first wipe. After the first wipe things went pretty smoothly.

We paused briefly before engaging Lord Marrowgar so I could be informed about the boss fight & what needed to be done [not much explanation needed]. It probably helped that a lot that everyone else knew the fight so it was just one person that it had to be explained to. We downed Lord Marrowgar pretty quickly and all the drops were caster, so nothing useful for my DK.

We cleared through the trash easily and made it to Lady Deathwhisper fairly soon after downing the first. We had to stop a bit longer because the Main Tank had to go help his kid with something quickly. That was actually a benefit… I happened to disconnect while we were waiting. It took me a minute to log back in, while I was logging the guild went over the fight. Slightly more complex [although, not by much] than Marrowgar, but we managed to down her on the first shot. She dropped more caster gear… maybe I should have brought my mage…

I started this post on Monday, May 3rd but couldn’t continue editing it until today due to projects one week then finals the next.

Now I don’t remember all the details of what happened in ICC that weekend. I know we made it to Festergut or Rotface and wiped a few times so we called it. Oh well, the important thing is that finals week is done and I didn’t let Warcraft distract me [too much].

I have since been to ICC a few more times and managed to get a few upgrades. I have also ran Trial of the Crusader but I didn’t get anything there, as well as Vault of Archavon [25 man] once and got two PvP pieces.


I feel your Icy Touch…

Has it really been almost a month since I updated? Wow, apparently I’ve been busier than I realized. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised… between work, school, homework, a concert, & a rave I kinda ran out of time. Haven’t had a ton of time for gaming, but I made sure to still get in a little bit.

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve played Final Fantasy XIII. I got a bit further into the game & got a chance to mess with an Eidolon, they are pretty slick. Unfortunately I can’t remember enough to include a lot of info about them in this post, it’s been a while since I’ve played the game.

From what I do remember though, when a Eidolon is summoned the party members other than the one that summoned it are “dismissed” until the Eidolon leaves the fight, like they did in Final Fantasy X. One of the differences this time around is that the character that summoned the Eidolon will attack along with it. The Eidolon can also transform into a vehicle of sorts for the summoner to ride on & do team attacks.

A week or so after my last post I hit 80 on Deathengine. The second Heroic I ran after hitting 80 was The Culling of Stratholme. We managed to make it through the instance fast enough to fight the timed boss [Infinite Corrupter], I was the only person who had not gotten the Reins of the Bronze Drake. Fresh 80 and an epic flight mount… now I just had to save up for the epic flying.

I was surprised when my third Oculus run I was awarded with the Reins of the Blue Drake [see picture to the left] from the bag of gems awarded at from the chest at the end of the instance.

With the help of Dungeon Finder & random Heroics, I managed to save up enough emblems to buy the full Tier 9 DPS set for him. He is almost fully decked out in epics as well. I believe his cloak is the only thing left to upgrade from Heroics. I hope to get in an occasional raid with my brothers & friends so that I can upgrade his gear further.

Just a few days ago [about three weeks after hitting 80], I managed to save up the 5,000 gold needed to buy epic flying. I was finally able to use the two Drake mounts I had won in the previous instances.

I also decided I wanted to try a dual-wield Frost/DPS spec for him without giving up his current Unholy/DPS spec. Luckily I had purchased the Dual Talent Specialization a while back in case I wanted to tank with him. I have yet to get decent tanking gear, so the Frost/DPS spec was quite viable! I’m pulling roughly the same DPS in both specs.

The Frost spec I’m using is a bit more enjoyable because I don’t have that annoying ghoul following me around. OK… you got me… I enjoy them both the same. It’s just when running in the Frost spec I don’t have to wait for my minion to be re-summoned each time I dismount [and that animation can get annoying if you’re mounting a lot, ie- farming]. o.O

I have also since transferred Stasís over to Silvermoon from Staghelm. Pretty much everyone I ever played with on Staghelm has quit the game. It’s a good thing I never transferred Texhnolyze from Silvermoon to Staghelm, huh? lol

She is in the same gear as she was the last time I posted about her.

I ran a few Heroics with her shortly after I transferred her over. I have to learn how to play Mage again, my DPS was not that great [not bad, but not great].

Between Deathengine and Stasís, I managed to save up enough emblems to buy some of the Bind-on-Account gear. I now have a level 12 Priest that has the BoA chest, shoulders, and staff. I’m thrilled about the 20% experience boost from the [chest & shoulder] BoA gear, it makes leveling so much easier! I also purchased a set of shoulders for my Rogue. He is level 16 so far. I’ll get him a BoA chest piece once I have enough emblems saved up. I will be messing with my two new characters on a semi-regular basis [as far as my WoW time goes].

I made an account on Chess.com and have been playing Chess with a few friends from work. I haven’t played Chess in over 12 years, so I’m not all that great, but I’m learning again. It’s quite fun, and really nice because there is a Chess.com Application for my phone [HTC Hero, Android OS]. We usually play with a 24 hour limit [to make your next move]… but the games are only last a few days [at most].

I have a few new projects at school, so I’m going to have even less time to game the next week or so. So far all my classes are going well, but I’m doing better than I expected! Being out of school for five-ish years & I have a full-time job on top of full-time school has made things difficult, but I’m managing. 🙂


Spring break…? Not entirely.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Why assign projects to do over spring break? I thought the reason for spring break was to give us a break… guess not. Still working on finishing up my movie research paper, having more trouble finding articles I can use than I had originally anticipated. I don’t have a ton more to do, I’ll have it finished tomorrow. I’m definitely taking a break to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with some friends though

I did a little bit of instance grinding with Deathengine yesterday [Tuesday] afternoon. I managed to snag a few upgrades and hit level seventy-eight, go me! Since level seventy-three I’ve been strictly instance leveling with him, time between instance pops I’m spending leveling professions & generally screwing around. Cooking & Fishing are both almost three hundred, JewelCrafting is going to be a bit harder to level since I picked up Skinning as my second major profession. I can always farm up the materials I need on Texhnolyze. I picked Skinning because it’s extremely easy to level & I can use it as my gold “farming” profession. Once I get a bit of savings, I will most likely be swapping Skinning to Enchanting.

Hrm, so I started this entry yesterday thinking I would come back to this post last night before I passed out. Didn’t happen, I was out until 2AM with my two best friends… even though I had work at 7AM. It was St. Patrick’s Day though, not a regular event.

I busted out a bit more Final Fantasy XIII the other day as well. At first I wasn’t sure what I thought about the combat system. I’m really starting to like it though, it’s a bit more of a challenge than any other combat system that has been used in Final Fantasy games. One of the things that bothers me though is if the main character [Lightning] gets Knocked Out, the game ends: you are given the choice to restart the battle or quit. Unlike other Final Fantasy games, every time you win a battle, all your character’s health is returned… this is handy.

Each character has a role it plays [Commando, Ravager, Sentinel, Synergist, Saboteur, and Medic – I will discuss these a bit later]. The combination of roles you have set for characters is called a Paradigm. You can have up to six Paradigms saved and can switch between them at any point via the menu or Paradigm Shift during combat.

There is another new feature I’m a huge fan of, Stagger. On the top right of the screen there’s a bar, and two percents displayed. The first percent is based on the damage & attacks you do to your current target, the second number is that target’s Stagger point. As you do damage, the Stagger bar fills up. When no damage is being done though, the Stagger bar drains to zero. Once the target hits the Stagger point they go in to a Stagger State for a limited amount of time & the damage you do to them goes up… a lot. From what I can tell, the damage increases the higher the you get the Stagger percent to. An example of the difference in damage would be something like this; at my current point in-game, characters are doing anywhere between 50 and 150 normal damage, once a target has been staggered I’ve hit things for almost 2500.

Role Discussion:

Commando: Uses physical damage slowing the rate of Stagger decay and does a medium-high amount of damage.

  • This Role is key for building up the Stagger bar since without a Commando, the bar empties fairly quickly.

Ravager: Uses magic based attacks [Fire, Blizzard, etc] that do a low-medium amount of damage, but does a lot of percentage to the Stagger bar.

  • Very effective in building up the Stagger bar, especially when combined with a Commando’s slowing the Stagger decay rate.
  • After the Stagger point is reached, Ravagers keep the Stagger percentage going up which increases all the damage done to the target.

Sentinel: Taunt the target into attacking them while using defensive skills to take less damage.

  • Essentially the tank, they make sure no one else in the party gets hit.
  • Sentinels don’t do any damage.

Synergist: Buff the other party members with spells like Shell, Barrier, and Brave.

  • Status Buffs for party members help them absorb damage, do more damage, and other things.
  • Synergist only Buff the party, they don’t attack.
  • I wouldn’t recommend having a character set to be a Synergist the whole fight. Swap them in when your party needs Buffs re-applied.

Saboteur: Debuff the target with spells such as Deshell and Bio.

  • Debuffs decrease a target’s armor, magic resistance, or do damage over time.
  • Other than Bio, I don’t think Saboteurs do damage.
  • I wouldn’t recommend leaving them in your party after the whole fight. Swap them back in if Debuffs need to be re-applied.

Medic: Well, this one is exactly what it sounds like… the medic. they use spells like Cure, Regen, Raise, and Esuna.

  • Keeps everyone alive!
  • If needed, raises KO’d party members.

There is a different leveling system, the Crystarium which resembles the Sphere Grid from Final Fantasy X. There is no experience rewarded after battle, instead you get Crystogen Points. Every character has multiple Crystarium [one for each Role] that you can distribute points into. Within the Crystarium are different abilities/spells you can unlock as well as more Strength, Health, or Magic.

I have only unlocked one of the Summons, or “Eidolons” as they are called in this game. I haven’t gotten to use it yet though, as soon as I acquired it the game shifted from Snow back to the rest of the group.

Commando, Ravager, Sentinel, Synergist, Saboteur and Medica

So much to do, so little time!

One week until Final Fantasy XIII is released. I have to say, this is the first FF that I have really looked forward to since I was disappointed by FF VIII. Even though I enjoyed IX, I didn’t look forward to it at all.

From what I have seen, I don’t believe I am going to be disappointed with XIII. The Japanese trailer for FF XIII is located here and English trailer is located here.

I have my reserve paid off for the 360, as much as I would like to get it for the PS3 [one disk instead of three]. I don’t have a PS3, nor do I have the money to get one any time soon. At least I can burn [“install”] the disks to the 360, which will improve loading time.

I don’t know what is going to happen with Mass Effect 2 once I start playing FF XIII, I have a feeling it is going to be put aside until FF is done.

I wish there was more time in the day. I have so many projects running at the same time… it’s getting difficult to juggle them all & remain productive. Studying for my two exams haven’t helped the process of being productive with anything else either. Then there is my research project… I have to watch & analyze the character interactions & communication in a movie of my choice. I chose American History X, it’s a great film, I love it. But analyzing all the character interactions isn’t exactly what I have in mind when sitting down to a movie.

As an additional note on the Authenticator post the other day. If you do not have an authenticator attached to your account, and your account gets hacked… the person who hacked your account can easily put an authenticator on as soon as they have access to your account.

This happened just yesterday to one of my brothers. His account was hacked while he was at work. Our other brother was at home & online when one of the characters on the hacked account popped online. He tried to log on to the hacked account to change the password; whoever hacked the account attached an authenticator to the account. Luckily, Blizzard has restored [or is in the process of restoring] my brother’s account back to the state it was in before his account was hacked.